Prince Philip, 96, takes his last official bow
For over 65 years, he has been the unwavering presence alongside the Queen, the consummate consort and royal representative.
On Wednesday Prince Philip, 96, made his 22,219th — and final — solo public engagement, braving heavy rain to meet Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace.
The royal appeared in good spirits, waving to cheering crowds and joking with the soldiers, who have completed a 2,678-kilometre trek to raise money for charity.
“You all should be locked up,” he quipped, making the soldiers laugh.
Philip announced he was stepping down from public duties in May. The royal, known for his sense of humour and gaffes, recently joked about his big retirement day, telling celebrity chef Prue Leith: “I’m discovering what it’s like to be on your last legs.”
Also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, he will still appear at the Queen’s side — from time to time — as the 91-year-old monarch soldiers on.
Philip is patron, president or a member of over 780 organizations, with which he will continue to be associated — but he won’t play an active role by attending engagements. The Queen supported the decision.
Wednesday’s event marks a major landmark for the man born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in Corfu on June 10, 1921, to Princess Alice of Battenberg and Prince Andrew of Greece. Amid the upheaval of the military coup that overthrew his uncle, King Constantine, in 1922, the family fled.
Two years after the the Second World War ended, Philip married Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey when she was 21 and he was 26. He renounced his Greek title and King George VI made him Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Philip made his final solo appearance in the rain outside Buckingham Palace.